Haven’t you heard? It’s not just a phone, it’s a war.
So pick a side and choose wisely. You’re making a lifetime commitment; is it Apple or Android? And there’s no going back for fear of being called a traitor, a war criminal even a flip-flopper.
And if you’re spending any time liaising with the other side, prepare to sever ties. There’s no sleeping with the enemy when it comes to this conflict.
This song is your official war cry, begin preparing for battle.
The popularity of mobile has skyrocketed over the past few years. We’ve seen six generations of iPhones, five iPad models, hundreds of Android phones and thousands of different devices being manufactured. Design and development have gone all the way from static and desktop-centric to responsive and device-aware. And it has been a very exciting journey.
The field is relatively young — we are all learning (usually by mistakes). Because of that, we are also struggling with generalizations and even stereotypes. Let’s have a look at common myths associated with the mobile universe.
It has become widely accepted that “mobility” refers to handheld devices, which you can easily use on the go, for Web browsing or anything else. Following that thought, we could easily make an assumption that even a remote control or MP3 player could potentially be a mobile device. But are they?
Mobility is strictly connected to the user and situation they’re currently in, not to the piece of hardware they’re using. This easily leads us to the conclusion that what really matters is the context,not the device. Some mobile industry luminaries have stated that the idea of context has been overblown. Indeed, it can easily lead to many unfortunate decisions and false assumptions which can drastically affect the end product.
Designing websites for smartphones is easy compared to retrofitting those already in place. More than that, it’s embarrassing how, almost eight years after CSS gained practical acceptance, a lack of foresight haunts those of us who write HTML.
Converting older websites to responsive design causes headaches not because small screens are difficult, but because most HTML documents were written under an assumption about screen size. Prior to the iPhone’s introduction in mid-2007, designers could rely on windows at least 700 pixels wide (if they ignored accessibility). Conventions like navigation bars, two- and three-column layout and hover effects evolved to fit the mouse-based wide-screen standard. Designers made their upper left corner logos clickable because it was expected.
Mobile devices shake old habits in two ways. Now, not only do we have small-screen iPhones, Android phones, Kindles, iPads and other mobile devices, but we’re asking websites to adapt to whichever device comes knocking. You want CNN on an xBox? It could happen. You want Smashing Magazine on a Web-enabled TV? If it’s not here, it will be soon.
Designing for future cases affects both page layout and website structure. We can’t control on which devices our digital content is viewed — rather, experienced. No amount of “best viewed with…” badges will stop people from reading and remixing what we write, paint, compose or otherwise create. Web pages don’t have to use 12- or 16-column grids, and websites don’t have to follow strict hierarchies. But getting there means facing a legacy that did.
From time to time, when a discussion is taking place about ways to implement responsive images, someone comes along and says, “Hey, guys! What we really need is a media query that enables us to send high-resolution images to people on a fast connection and low-resolution images to people on a slow connection.” At least early on, a lot of people agreed.
At first glance, this makes a lot of sense. High-resolution images have a significant performance cost, because they take longer to download. On a slow network connection, that cost can have a negative impact on the user’s experience. Users might prefer low-resolution images if it means that pages will download significantly faster. On the other hand, for users on a high-speed connection, the performance cost of delivering high-resolution images diminishes, and users would probably prefer better-quality images in this case.
If only we had a media query (and the HTML element that allows us to use that media query) that enables Web developers to have that degree of control over served images as a function of bandwidth, life would be peachy.
As it turns out, accurately implementing such a dream media query is not a whole lot easier than implementing a machine that can accurately predict how much it will rain two weeks from next Tuesday. And even if it were possible to implement, its side effects would result in a worse user experience, rather than a better one.
LAS VEGAS — Nvidia, the company that makes the mobile processors in many Android devices including the Google Nexus 7 tablet, today officially launched its next mobile chip, the Tegra 4.
The quad-core Tegra 4 is said to have six times the processing power of its predecessor, the Tegra 3. To show just how powerful the chip is, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang demonstrated how a Tegra 4-powered devices could take photos with high dynamic range (HDR) in essentially real time, with no discernible delay between the multiple shots required to assemble the composite pics.
Huang also claimed the Tegra 4 had more processing power than even the iPad 4, which Mashable‘s own tests showed had an incredibly fast chip.
The Tegra 4 boasts similar energy efficiency as the Tegra 3 since it has the same architecture, with a fifth core that helps regulate energy use. With its power-efficient design, the Tegra 4 is said to enable up to 14 hours of video playback on smartphones.
The new Tegra is based on an ARM Cortex-A15 CPU design, and contains 72 individual Nvidia GeForce graphics cores. Huang demonstrated the chip’s graphical powers by having a Tegra 4-powered device push 4K-resolution video to an Ultra HDTV.
One of the first Tegra 4-powered devices will actually be an Nvidia-designed and -made product, a handheld Android gaming controller called Project Shield. Now that the chip is official, expect more announcements from mobile manufacturers in the coming months.
ComScore’s new U.S. smartphone market share numbers are in, and the trend that’s been going on for years hasn’t changed: Google‘s Android and Apple‘s iOS are gaining, while everyone else is losing.
In the three-month period ending November 2012, Google had a 53.7% market share, up from 52.6% in August. Apple’s market share rose from 34.3% to 35%, while RIM, Microsoft and Symbian all lost market share, dropping to 7.3%, 3% and 0.5% respectively.
Apple’s good results can partially be attributed to the sales of iPhone 5, which became available in late September. In the following quarter, holiday sales will likely help all competitors to some extent, but Apple will probably benefit the most thanks to the availability of the iPhone 5.
Looking for a way to prevent fumbling around with your smartphone while wearing gloves this winter? How about not touching it at all?
BEARTek gloves, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, are the world’s first pair of gloves that offer built-in Bluetooth controls for your smartphone.
On three fingers are six pads for controlling basic smartphone functions. Answer or drop calls, change the song you’re listening to or lower the volume all while keeping your hands inside your gloves. The gloves pair with most Android and iOS devices.
Blue Infusion Technologies’ Kickstarter campaign to fund the gloves has raised $7,600 of the $50,000 goal, with 29 days remaining. The company plans to sell the gloves for roughly $200.
Check out the video above to learn more about the gloves. Would they be of use to you this winter? Let us know in the comments.
Instagram is going live with version 3.0 of its iPhone and Android apps this Thursday.
The centerpiece of the update is a feature called Photo Maps which, if enabled, will organize your geotagged photos on a map.
It’s fun to see your photos pinned to various parts of the globe, but what’s key, says Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of Instagram, is that you can now much more easily access photos you and others took months or even years ago.
“In the beginning, social media was thought of as this ephemeral medium — you put something out in the world and it falls off people’s feeds in an hour or two. But really photos get more valuable as time goes on, they become points for nostalgia,” Systrom posits. “Up until now we made it too difficult to access [those old photos], you had to scroll back pages and pages. We want to let you browse those photos in a fast and efficient manner, and we realized that the way to organize them wasn’t time, but [location].”
“There’s something really powerful in exploring who someone is on Instagram through a geo versus a time display,” he adds.
Instagram, the popular photo-filtering and sharing app is on its way to Google’s mobile operating system.
The long-awaited Android version of Instagram is nearly here.
The Android version is currently being tested in private beta and will be released “very soon.”
Back in April, Apple had a bit of a PR problem when it was discovered that iPhones were storing a cache of data on which GPS locations that handset had visited in an unencrypted file. The whole thing was just a bug, but the controversy was dubbed LocationGate, and Apple even had to testify in front of the Senate about the matter.
The whole fiasco even prompted an email from Steve Jobs, which dropped something of a bombshell: he said Apple doesn’t track anyone’s location, but that Android tracked everyone.
At the time, there wasn’t a lot of proof to back up Steve’s assertion, but as it often does, time has proven Steve Jobs right. Android phones do track you. In fact, software that comes pre-installed on millions of Android, BlackBerry and Nokia phones log everything you do with your device, and sends them off secretly to its own servers.